Technology

Star Wars: Dark Forces gets quality-of-life improvements thanks to reverse engineered game engine

Work on a reverse engineering project for the game engine that powered Star Wars: Dark Forces has reached a pivotal milestone, enabling the title to be played on modern systems with a full complement of quality-of-life improvements.

The Force Engine (TFE), as the project is known, is now at version 1.0 after three years of development and fully supports Dark Forces. The project’s creator said the goal with Dark Forces was for TFE to replace DOSBox and the original executable, and to be compatible with both the vanilla levels and subsequent community mods.

With TFE, you can play Dark Forces with high-resolution and widescreen support. Other enhancements include full mouselook support, an aiming reticle and an improved Boba Fett AI.

There is also a new save system that can be used for exit saves or however often you see fit. It’s worth noting that these are all optional features and if you want a full vanilla experience, all of the quality-of-life improvements can be turned off.

Star Wars: Dark Forces launched in early 1995 for MS-DO and Macintosh, and a year later on the original PlayStation. The game was generally well received on computers, with some comparing it to Doom but with more advanced features.

Version 1.0 of The Force Engine is available to download from GitHub for those interested in giving it a try. It only supports Windows 7 and later right now but Mac and Linux support is being planned as part of an early 2023 update. Also note that you’ll need the full Dark Forces game as TFE replaces the executable, not the game itself.

Star Wars: Dark Forces can be had for a mere $2.09 after a 65 percent discount as part of GOG’s ongoing winter sale. It’s also on Steam but you’ll pay $5.99 through Valve.

Only one other game used the Jedi Engine, Outlaws. Support for that title in TFE is coming in version 2.0 but no launch window has been set as of this writing.